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winter familyI feel lucky that I get to write the Letter to the Readers for my favorite issue of the year. The weeks leading up to the holidays have been so much fun, beginning with Fred Parent's children's art contest for the city of Fredericksburg's gift card program (Congratulations, Jonah!) and continuing on to the Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony last week. I can't wait to see this year's Christmas parade during our annual office Christmas party.

This issue is filled with cool things to do during the holidays with your family, including holiday book recommendations from the library, ways to eat healthily and deliciously during the holiday season and the most complete calendar of events in the region. However, I think my favorite article in this holiday issue is Nikki Ducas' piece on helping children research and choose which charities they want to support. Nothing gives a child a feeling of power like being able to help other people despite their small size. Both of my daughters have found that one of the best ways to live with a progressive, incurable disease is to focus on what one CAN do, rather than what one can't.

There are so many things that CAN be done. It turns out getting the to-do list done will crowd out feelings of loss and powerlessness. I am so proud of their efforts to send children to MDA camp, raise awareness of Charcot-Marie-Tooth syndrome, and to support service dog training programs.

Give your children the same chance to impact their world. You won't regret it.

Happy Holidays
Leigh Anne Van Doren

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Pouches' Community Corner

This month Pouches learned about a very important resource for families who have lost loved ones to sudden tragedy, an organization called LLOST.

keepsake box

The foundation has helped 44 hospitals in 22 states through their Treasured Memories program. The program sends nurses to bereavement training, and provides or supplements the $55 memory boxes that include clothes, booties, handknot blankets, pictures, foot prints, hand prints, clipped hair and other mementos.